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Is dressing for success a thing anymore??


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#1 KeturahWeston

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 08:33 AM

Or is it a generational thing? I noticed that when I'm going to mentor younger agents to meet with clients or managers - they don't dress up. I'd like to call it much less than business casual. I usually dressed in business attire or at least business casual. But these agents don't dress up at all. Am I in the wrong for feeling a little embarrassed when I go out with them? What can I do? How do you dress for success?



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#2 Just_One_Question

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 08:55 AM

Apart from my average taste, I have no qualifications to answer a fashion-related question, but I'm just going to say that 'looking the part' will forever be a thing. With that being said, many people nowadays neglect this part to their appearance.

 

Source: A couple of years ago in high school we've had a play, based on Sherlock Holmes. I played Watson and borrowed a suit to dress somewhat accordingly. Long story short, half the other characters we're wearing jeans and a glossy T-shirt... :lmao:


Edited by Just_One_Question, 16 August 2017 - 08:57 AM.


#3 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 09:13 AM

As a personal observation, I would say no. Around here in New Mexico, people get good paying jobs (making between $100,000 and $250,000 a year, which is decent for this area) by wearing not much more than swim trunks and flip flops to work on a daily basis. Well dressed people choose to dress nicely as a personal preference, not in relationship to their careers.


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#4 r.a.d.

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 11:29 AM

Interesting question, it could depend on area ( New Mexico sounds like my cup of tea), position and capacity sought, as well as what type of business. Lots of variables would come into play.
If seeking a job, how one chooses to dress as a first visual impression would initially tell me how much they desire the job, qualifications taking second seat. It could also suggest their dedication in acquiring that position. A sloppy first appearance being suggestive of a sloppy performance if they were hired.
Along with that, how one personably presents themselves outside of appearance is important.
Being of an older generation, I may not be qualified to really answer your question. But say, if trying to gain a position at a prestigious law firm with violet hair, nose ring and enough metal piercings to put the TSA on high alert.. forget it.
In my former business (contractor in the trade, some construction, paint/faux finishing/color coordination) I'd meet with new customers from my job site looking the part: working cloths and all, but my speech, knowledge and expertise overrode appearance, gaining me a new client.
Just posting my 2¢, with interest in what others say.
Bleepin' desert rat retiree in climes yet to fry brains (knock on cactus).

Past climes/best friend:  photo-91.gif

#5 DelPomerinke

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 12:01 PM

Right,  I've noticed that companies dress codes are becoming more relaxed all the time.   My newest position actually has a 'Casual Dress Code' so like Denim/Jeans is ok most days unless  we have special guests in the building.   Then Business casual is sufficient and they'll give us few days announcement even before Business Casual is required.



#6 Just_One_Question

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 12:12 PM

In my former business (contractor in the trade, some construction, paint/faux finishing/color coordination) I'd meet with new customers from my job site looking the part: working cloths and all, but my speech, knowledge and expertise overrode appearance, gaining me a new client.

A famous Bulgarian proverb goes like that: "Po drehite posreshtat. Po uma izprashtat". It literally translates as: "By your clothes you're being welcomed. By your brains you're being sent off" and, as you might imagine, it roughly corresponds with the English "Don't judge a book by its cover".

 

I mean, guys, have you ever talked to someone who seemed interesting and sharp in appearance and the minute they opened their mouth all expectations were being destroyed, lol. With that said, professional looks are usually the cherry on the top for someone who is knowledgeable in their line of work. :)


Edited by Just_One_Question, 16 August 2017 - 12:13 PM.


#7 britechguy

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 12:18 PM

I do think that what's been offered so far sums it up.

 

When I first started working in the 1980s as a tech geek at a defense contractor (first job) it was expected that one would always show up in dress pants, shirt, and tie at a minimum.  I think this was largely because there were frequent visits from various military brass who were in full uniform and the company wanted to give an equally formal impression, but in street clothes, and everyone knows that a private and a general do not wear exactly the same uniform.

 

Over the years dress codes, both formal written and unwritten ones, have definitely relaxed, and I say all for the better.  I love the way I look, and many other people look, in formal attire (be it tuxedo for social occasions or suit and tie, or the equivalent in women's wear in context) but the amount of both time and money necessary to maintain a full wardrobe of business attire on a daily basis is ridiculous, at least if you want to look genuinely good [everything pressed] rather than grabbing "wash and wear" [which isn't] and throwing it on.

 

Most positions do not require formal dress and many are hindered by it.  I never loved crawling under desks to deal with wiring and the like in good dress clothing while doing so in good jeans (as opposed to the variety that become yard work clothing) and a polo shirt doesn't bother me at all.

 

Also, whether people like to admit it or not in this day and age, clothing is very powerful in telegraphing status and power.  When someone has dressed in "status and power" mode that tends to put people who are not dressed similarly in a psychologically uncomfortable position.  I prefer that, say, my doctor does not dress in full suit and tie with accessories to match, as it makes him less approachable and easy to talk to, whether intended or not.   People subconsciously respond to all sorts of cues regarding power dynamics and there are lots of work/business situations where that response does not truly benefit either side of the equation.

 

Since I've been self-employed as a one-man technical support "team" I have worn virtually nothing but jeans and polo shirts to visit clients.  I feel at ease in this clothing and the clients, even if they're a bit more formally dressed, seem to feel at ease with that, too.

 

I can also say that I never did get why "the office" has been given so much (undue, in my opinion) respect and required significantly more formality.   Dress has zero to do with expertise, and when I engage someone's services it's because I already know they meet the training, licensure, whatever requirements to do the job.  While I don't want someone who is being intentionally provocative in their style (and I don't mean sexually provocative, or at least not specifically sexually provocative) I give a very wide latitude in the "normal dress" bell curve.  

 

I do think, though, that depending on the business you want to go into, or for which you wish to be contracted by, you must consider what the standards are today in that milieu.  I could not get away with my chosen style of dress if I wanted to be in high-dollar banking, the fashion industry, or any number of other areas where clothing as a social marker is still central.


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#8 r.a.d.

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 01:11 PM

britechguy, articulately stated and totally agree.

JOQ, (in my mind I can't help thinking of Columbo:), great Bulgarian proverb! 
When dating, before meeting my wife, I also had a couple of what's called 'blind dates'. On first meet, I was certainly glad I wasn't blind (talking knockouts here) but when they started talking, I recall wishing I was deaf. :)

Off topic, just humor. Things have relaxed from times passed, but some semblance of dress conformity with occupational variables is still valuable, especially when seeking against competition towards the same goal.
Bleepin' desert rat retiree in climes yet to fry brains (knock on cactus).

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#9 Just_One_Question

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 01:57 PM

Yes, it would also be fun if you dressed like Mr. Peanut for a normal job.

 

"Hey, you've called me to fix your computer and at the same time - your fashion sense!"... and then you tip your top hat at them, while standing on their door step. :lmao:


Edited by Just_One_Question, 16 August 2017 - 04:03 PM.


#10 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 03:57 PM

I like this thread (pun intended) and I agree with the general sentiment, I just wish that I could observe that in my day-to-day life. In my life I see a lot of 30 year olds and 40 year olds wearing holey jeans, swim trunks and or old tee shirts and other nondescript casual clothes to work and play, and these people head up large departments and run entire facilities of people.  Walmart, Target, UPS and New Mexico State employees just wear the junk off the bottom of the shelf to work, and they earn anywhere from $150,000 a year to $450,000 a year and more.

 

Heck I work at Walmart and even our plant manger that earns about $300,000 a year just wears blue jeans and a tee shirt to work, and my sister-in-law that earns a little over $550,000 a year just wears blue jeans and a tee shirt to work. The days of being nicely dressed is over as pre-condition for a good job. Our IT manager just wears his swim trunks and flip flops and he makes a decent living.


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#11 Just_One_Question

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 04:15 PM

Heck I work at Walmart and even our plant manger that earns about $300,000 a year just wears blue jeans and a tee shirt to work

300 grand a year?! Is he watering the Rio Grande National Forest plantation, lol?:lmao:



#12 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 05:10 PM

 

Heck I work at Walmart and even our plant manger that earns about $300,000 a year just wears blue jeans and a tee shirt to work

300 grand a year?! Is he watering the Rio Grande National Forest plantation, lol? :lmao:

 

 

 

I work at a warehouse. The starting pay for base managers is $68,000 a year.


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#13 Just_One_Question

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 05:14 PM

Ah, I see. I thought you were talking about a gardener when you said plant manager, not an actual warehouse plant. ...Yeah, that makes more sense. :lmao:


Edited by Just_One_Question, 16 August 2017 - 05:15 PM.


#14 r.a.d.

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 05:41 PM

New Mexico sounds laid back (dress-wise) to the point of being comatose. I like it.
Immediately after moving to the Southern California desert some years back (temps last July hit 122° one day) the economy tanked, I had no prospects for re-starting my business and so before retiring, decided to work 2 1/2 years at Home Depot as a specialist. 
Along with their orange apron, some dress code was required like collared shirts, shoes and long pants (shorts were allowed in the summer). They absolutely wouldn't hire someone not dressed to their desire. Metal ornamentation, tongue studs and the like were strongly discouraged as well. Tats, can't easily remove those and were overlooked.
Much seems to depend on the given area in question and their prevailing dress attitude.

To the OP: when you ask what you can do: possibly extend your mentorship to include dress advice. They will either take it to heart to their possible advantage, or ignore it to their possible detriment.
Bleepin' desert rat retiree in climes yet to fry brains (knock on cactus).

Past climes/best friend:  photo-91.gif

#15 dropbear

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 06:11 PM

it's all about first impressions, if that be a business suit, good casual attire or a pair of budgie smugglers then dress for the occasion.

while it's possible to be under dressed, has anyone ever been disadvantaged for being over dressed?


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